House of Sand and Fog

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The movie House of Sand and Fog has many sociological concepts. At the start of the movie we experience a grand and lavish wedding that Mr. Behrani is having for his daughter, from the looks of his composure and the wedding you would think his family is very wealthy. The scene quickly switches to Mr. Behrani working a low-income construction job. After work he cleans up in a bathroom and puts on his suit before going home to his family. Based on these events Mr. Behrani is extremely class conscious he is willing to sacrifice and work two jobs in order to uphold a high status towards the public. In this movie status is socially determined, Mr. Behrani may have the jobs of a proletariat but is perceived as living the life of a bourgeois. Mr. Behrani counts every little dollar, in which he eventually buys a house for his family. He understands capitalism very well, he plans on flipping the house to make a huge profit. When Mr. Behrani’s daughter visits with her husband and mother in law he clearly states that the house is only an investment property. This shows his consciousness about his status.We also see Kathy go through her own struggles; sheloses the house that her father worked 30 years to achieve. We see her status go from a homeowner to living in a motel, then eventually homeless. These events has lead Kathy to alienation, she cannot find the strength to tell her family about her husband leaving (which occurred 8 months prior) or the house being foreclosed.

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3 responses to “House of Sand and Fog

  1. Many interesting insights on the theme of *status* — and its relation to *class* — in “House of Sand of Fog.” The “disjuncture” between Behrani’s status and class at the start of the film, which you highlight, is critical. However, from the perspective of Marx *and* Weber, while Behrani was no doubt *status*-conscious, he was not *class*-conscious. Marx would point to Behranis’s lack of *class consciousness*, his failure to recognize his “true” class interests, which were *proletarian*, at least until he became a property owner and real estate investor and stopped working for others (qualifying him as *bourgeois*).

  2. Karl Marx argued that the proletariat, would eventually become aware of their shared experience with other workers of exploitation by the bourgeoisie, and rise up and overthrow their oppressors. The nature of this understanding was termed by as class consciousness. Behrani did not gain that class consciousness and instead became a part of capitalism when he decided to ignore the fact that the purchased house was only possibly do to bankers mistaking Kathy for a business owner who owed taxes. Instead of Behrani giving back the house for the price he bought it at he decided to make a profit from it. An weber would call Behranis actions as him having conscious of rational legal power because he knew the rules and he played the game correctly aside from knowing that morally it was incorrect.

  3. It’s interesting to point out that Berhani is conscious of his class, however he does not accept it in my opinion. Even though he is of the lower, preoprty-less class, he fails to accept it and embrace the lifestyle of this lifestyle. Instead, Berhani puts on this facade to make himself more prestigious, and of the other class the property-owners. But it is not until halfway through the film that Berhani purchases his first piece of property in America and has a limited chance of social mobility. Furthermore, it’s even more interesting to deconstruct the concept that it took Kathy’s father thirty years to save up enough money to move up in his social class, and it only took Kathy a matter of months to mess it up, and put all his hard work, “down the drain” so to speak.

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